When I asked Secretary Summers to justify the draconian, heavy handed tactics being used by the Maryland Department of the Environment to take private property rights and value from rural citizens his response astounded even me. In a response reminiscent of Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake” he responded that the cost would be ” a modest $8,000″ to the homeowner. Putting aside the elitist arrogance of such a response, he is factually incorrect for a number of reasons. First, the $8,000 projection is a very conservative estimate for the initial installation of a BAT Septic System. It costs much more when you look at the yearly maintenance cost every year. Unfortunately, there is not much new construction going on out there so I don’t know why the Secretary would focus on this “modest $8,000″ estimate instead of the more likely, $12,000 to $15,000 it cost to install a BAT Septic System into an existing home and you still have to add the yearly maintenance and upkeep cost.
The Secretary then tries to justify the heavy handedness of his proposed regulations by arguing these new homes are costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to build. Go to Rock Hall or any other small town on the Eastern Shore and you will find there are thousands of older homes belonging to families that have made their living working on the Bay for generations and that their houses are merely located near where they work. These watermen and their families are by no means rich nor do they consider $8,000 to be a modest sum. In fact in many of the rural areas the true cost of $15,000 plus maintenance costs is a very significant portion of,if not more than, their yearly income.
These new regulations, which were specifically rejected by the State Legislature, are going to require these BAT Septic Systems be added to any home where the effluent is increased such as when a bedroom is added to the home. So those in the rural areas who want to have an Inlaw or parent to come live with them as opposed to going into a nursing home will have this additional cost thrust upon them. Have a child moving back home because the economy makes it impossible for them to find work, the same result.
In closing Secretary Summers said that these costs are not more than those on public water systems are already paying. I doubt that anyone on public systems are being forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars to have a child or parent move into their home. The Secretary leaves out of his equation the fact that Septic System owners also pay through out the life of their systems the cost of cleaning and maintaining them.
The Secretary never addresses the taking issue, nor does he attempt to justify the heavy handed tactics of circumventing the legislature other than to say, we believe we can pass regulations without the legislature. (See previous tapes)
If you think the Secretary’s $8,000 projected fee is excessive please let us know through your comments below and better yet call and let the Secretary know at 410-537-3084 or 1-800-633-6101. You can E-mail the Secretary at email@example.com